Perhaps the greatest living theater artist, composer, and lyricist, Stephen Sondheim will be in town this March for a public conversation at UCSB with former New York Times critic Frank Rich. And under the sign of Sondheim, many other great things will bloom this winter, including an exciting one-man show, I Am My Own Wife, at the tiny Theater 150 in Ojai; an original play on political themes from our own Bob Potter; and a much-talked about variation on Homer’s Odyssey by Naomi Iizuka to be directed by Westmont and Lit Moon’s resourceful Prospero, John Blondell.
The History (and Mystery) of the Universe
Buckminster Fuller explains it all for you in this multimedia production starring Emmy winner Joe Spano.
Jan. 17-Feb. 10: Wed., 2 and 7pm; Thu. and Fri., 8pm; Sat., 2 and 8pm; Sun., 2pm. Rubicon Theatre, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura. Call 667-2900 or visit rubicontheatre.org.
I Am My Own Wife
This 2004 Tony- and Pulitzer-winning drama about a German transvestite, Charlotte Van Mahlsdorf, comes to Ojai’s intimate Theater 150 with Robert Prior playing 35 roles (!) and Gregg T. Daniel directing. New York audiences were reportedly blown away by this show, which involved nearly a decade of research, including direct interviews of the subject by playwright Doug Wright. Note that Theater 150 has moved.
Jan. 18-Feb. 3: Fri. and Sat., 8pm; Sun., 2pm. Theater 150, 316 E. Matilija St., Ojai. Call 646-4300 or visit theater150.org.
Her name means “you reap what you sow,” and does she ever in this, the first of mile Zola’s enormously popular and controversial naturalistic novels-become-plays. Zola may have claimed he was conducting scientific investigations into character, but he also knew just how to get French audiences all riled up.
Jan. 31-Feb. 24: Tue.-Sat., 8pm; Sun., 2 and 7pm. Ensemble Theatre Company’s Alhecama Theatre, 914 Santa Barbara St. Call 965-5400 or visit ensembletheatre.com.
PCPA brings Shakespeare’s most infernal tragedy to life in a new production.
Feb. 7-Mar. 2: Wed. and Sun., 2pm; Fri., 7pm; Sat., 2 and 7pm. Allan Hancock College’s Marian Theatre. Call 922-8313 or visit pcpa.org.
The Acting Company is America’s most distinguished touring classical theater, and they do Shakespeare unplugged, leaving just the Bard’s fantastic language and immortal drama.
Thu., Feb. 14, 8pm. UCSB’s Campbell Hall. Call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu.
The Knight from Olmedo
Leo Cabranes-Grant directs UCSB drama students in this production of Lope de Vega’s classic renaissance drama. Live through the loves of a courtier, then learn a little about justice, renaissance-style.
Feb. 15-23: Fri. and Sat., 8pm; Sun., 2pm. UCSB’s Performing Arts Theater. Call 893-3022 or visit theaterdance.ucsb.edu.
William Inge’s 1955 play examines the lives of a diverse group of relative strangers through the prism of a bus trip that gets delayed by a snowstorm. There was a part in it for Marilyn Monroe.
Feb. 21-Mar. 16: Wed., 2 and 7pm; Thu. and Fri., 8pm; Sat., 2 and 8pm; Sun., 2pm. Rubicon Theatre, 1006 E. Main St., Ventura. Call 667-2900 or visit rubicontheatre.org.
Last Days of the Empire
Dramatic Women presents the premiere of Bob Potter’s historical fantasy, which is set in the Libyan desert. It will be directed by Maurice Lord. Politics never played so well.
Feb. 22-23 and Feb. 28-Mar. 1, 8pm. Center StageTheater, 751 Paseo Nuevo. Call 963-0408 or visit centerstagetheater.org.
Westmont College’s theater guru John Blondell has gotten hold of the ever-elusive and erstwhile UCSB faculty member Naomi Iizuka’s version of Homer’s Odyssey for what is sure to be one of the highlights of the season. Iizuka has reset the story in contemporary America, with Odysseus/Anon as an illegal immigrant.
Feb. 22-23 and Feb. 29-Mar. 1, 8pm. Westmont College’s Porter Theatre. Call 565-7140 or visit westmont.edu.
Irwin Appel directs this Pulitzer-winner from 1936. An American impresario holes up at a luxury resort in the Italian Alps with a motley collection of other guests and his entourage, the glamorous chorus girls know as Les Blondes. Expect high-flying philosophical discussions and lively behavior from everyone involved.
Feb. 29-Mar. 8: Fri. and Sat., 8pm; Sun., Mar. 2, 2pm. Call 893-3022 or visit theaterdance.ucsb.edu.
Stephen Sondheim and Frank Rich
The greatest artist in the history of American musical theater makes a rare appearance in dialogue with the distinguished critic for a program called A Little Night Conversation. This is a must-see event for the theater community.
Sat., Mar. 8, 4pm. Granada Theatre, 1216 State St. Call 893-3535 or visit artsandlectures.sa.ucsb.edu.